This post is the first of what will aim to be a weekly indulgence in our love of non conformity in the class room. Say 'Bah humbug!' to the textbook warriors, and teach those abstract ideas your own way.

Each post will have an example of how to teach an important lesson, without the student needing to do any reading or writing. And just for kicks, I'll be adding a riddle onto the end of each post, to be answered the following week. Apart from being a good laugh and a nice way to break or finish a lesson with a smile, riddles can be great for improving key problem solving skills.


Idea #1

Useful for: Chemistry, Ages 5-13

Learning about: The changes of state (solid/ liquid/ gas)

You will need: An ice cube, a saucepan, a stove, a glass

This is a really easy experiment and a great way to consolidate and revise basic knowledge of chemistry. 

The process is simple: pop an ice cube in a saucepan and apply heat; watch it melt; as it begins to evaporate use the glass to show the condensation forming. To really optimise the learning from this, ensure the student has an understanding of the terms listed below before you start, and then challenge them to use each term correctly during the course of the experiment.

Vocabulary list: solid, liquid, gas, melt, freeze, evaporate, boil, condense, molecule, atom, hydrogen, oxygen, element, compound, mixture


Riddle: The farmer

The old ones are the best.

A farmer and his dog are on the way back from the market with a bag of chicken feed and a chicken. To get home, he needs to cross a river in a tiny little rowing boat. Unfortunately, he can only fit one thing into the boat with him, so he will need to make multiple trips. What's more, if left alone together then the dog will eat the chicken. Likewise, the chicken will gobble up the grain if given half a chance. The boat is the only way they can get across. How does the farmer get them all across in one piece?